The parole board plays an integral part in the reentry of offenders into the community from prison in most states; yet, little is known about the decision-making practices of this group. In particular, few studies have used quantitative data to examine parole among a large group of offenders, and less is known about the direct and joint effects of race and ethnicity on this decision point. We extend previous work by con- sidering variation in parole timing among a sample of young, serious offenders incarcerated in one state. Results from a series of propor- tional hazard models reveal substantial variation in parole timing. Con- sistent with the existing theoretical research on parole, parole actors are most concerned with community protection and heavily weigh mea- sures of the current offense, institutional behavior, and the official parole guidelines score. The direct effects of race and ethnicity were also revealed. Black offenders spent a longer time in prison awaiting parole compared with white offenders, and the racial and ethnic differ- ences are maintained net of legal and individual demographic and com- munity characteristics. These findings provide important insight into the parole process and augment the existing theoretical work on dispar- ities in decision making.
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